Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 28
by Rod Keller [rkeller@...
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
also available on Yahoo. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Week in Review is archived at:
Note: This issue contains information gathered from the last two weeks.
The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana published an article on
October 28th on a Scientologist's fight against medication for children
with Attention Deficit Disorder.
"Laurie Gary said her son, who is 9, is talkative. Gary said that when her
son was 7 and attended Carencro Heights, one of his teachers told him he
needed to be on medication. 'You don't tell a 7-year-old child that,' she
said. 'Here he was thinking something was wrong with him.' State
Superintendent of Education Cecil Picard apparently agrees. He issued a
directive Oct. 1 to education officials throughout the state, asking
public school teachers to refrain from diagnosing and suggesting
medication for children.
"Pace is a member of the Church of Scientology in Lafayette. Scientology
adamantly opposes the use of psychotropic drugs on children. Pace said she
is concerned about students who are told they cannot attend class if they
are not on their ADD medication. 'No educator nor school employee in any
capacity should be involved in becoming a feeder line to psychiatry or
psychology by suggesting to any parent or guardian that a particular child
has a so-called mental disease when there is no proof of such ever
existing,' Pace wrote to Picard."
The Detroit News reported on October 28th on bills that could change how
children with ADD are treated in Michigan.
"Michigan's House Education Committee has begun hearings on bills that
would affect children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD). While one bill may protect such children, another could ultimately
undermine what progress has been made in the recognition and early
detection of the disorder.
"The repercussions of House Bill 5085, introduced by state Rep. Sue Tabor,
are many. It would not only prohibit school teachers, administrators and
even school psychologists from recommending to parents the use of
psychotropic drugs for their struggling child, but would hinder teachers'
ability to recommend an evaluation.
"One of the arguments by supporters of the legislation is that Michigan
ranks third in the nation for Ritalin use and therefore it may be
overprescribed. But they fail to acknowledge that as of 1990, Michigan
ranked eighth in the nation for population, which drastically reduces the
likelihood of overprescription.
"Many states have been targets of a campaign to discredit ADHD and the use
of Ritalin and other psychotropic medications. The Citizens Commission on
Human Rights, which was established by the Church of Scientology, has been
at the forefront of this campaign, according to Dr. E. Clark Ross, chief
executive of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder. It has spread misleading literature that makes unsubstantiated
claims and disregards scientific findings contrary to their views.
"There is substantial evidence to support the effectiveness of Ritalin and
other medications in treating ADHD. Earlier this month, the American
Academy of Pediatrics published guidelines for the treatment of ADHD.
Among other things, the academy states that when appropriate, the use of
stimulant medication and/or behavioral therapy should be recommended by
the clinician in treating ADHD symptoms."
A Scientology press release on November 11th accused Psychiatrists of
profiting from false diagnoses.
"The mental health lobby is marketing trauma for profit, seeking billions
of dollars to treat a 'mental illness crisis' it falsely says could arise
from the attacks. In September, a U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor
and Pensions hearing on 'Psychological Trauma and Terrorism' was told,
'Seventy-one percent of Americans said that they have felt depressed by
the attacks.' An alarming statistic, until it is realized that the survey
behind this was conducted just two to six days after the attack, when
Americans were still in a state of shock, glued to their television sets
and suffering perfectly normal reactions to the horrific tragedy.
"Using this 'survey result,' the hearing was told that The Mental Health
Equitable Treatment Act should be passed immediately so that counseling
could occur in volume. The bill is estimated to cost the private health
insurers alone $3 billion, with businesses bearing the brunt for other
costs associated with increased mandated mental health insurance.
"Aside from the $3 billion mandated mental health will cost, psychiatrists
estimate that $3 billion is needed to 'treat' New Yorkers alone, prompting
CCHR's website warning that the mental health lobby is making victims a
'paying proposition.' Pushing mind-altering and potentially addictive
psychiatric drugs as a solution to 'post traumatic stress disorder' is
also lucrative. International sales of antidepressants rose 19 percent
between 1999 and 2000, reaching $13.4 billion. Since the September 11
attacks, new prescriptions for antidepressants in New York alone jumped 17
percent and prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs rose 25 percent."
> Tom Cruise
The National Enquirer reported in its November 6th issue that Scientology
celebrity Tom Cruise plans a Scientology wedding with actress Penelope
"Beautiful Penelope - who was raised Catholic - has paved the way for a
happy marriage by making several trips to the Church of Scientology's
Celebrity Center in Hollywood to take courses at Cruise's behest. A devout
Scientologist, Tom wants to make sure that there won't be any religious
friction between them as there was between him and second wife Nicole
"Confided the insider, 'Not much was said, Penelope gushed 'yes' - and
that was it. There have been a few details to work out, but expect a big
party before the end of the year.' Among those 'few details': a commitment
from Penelope to become involved in Tom's Scientology religion and a
"'He's expecting to pay out a pretty penny to his ex-wife - about $30
million,' noted the insider. 'And the Scientology issue is near to Tom's
heart. Nicole's lack of 100 percent commitment to the Church of
Scientology became a huge issue in their marriage and, ultimately, their
divorce. She didn't want to raise the kids as Scientologists, while Tom
was adamant they be raised in the church. But Penelope told Tom she loved
him so much she'd be happy to consider joining the church.'"
From Peoplenews on October 31st:
"Tabloids in the US are getting excited at the idea of an imminent wedding
for Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. Inevitably, there are claims that the
couple are house-hunting in Greenwich, Connecticut, and that Cruise is
planning a Scientology wedding ceremony. The 27-year-old Spanish actress
recently said: 'Tom is a very special man. With him I am very, very happy.
It's in my mind to have children.'"
Freie Presse Zwickau reported on October 21st that former Scientologist
Norbert Potthoff led a discussion on Scientology in Zwickau.
"Between 250 and 300 interested people took up the invitation by the DGB
district association to a union meeting at Zwickau, to discuss, as DGB
district chief Werner Schuh put it, the 'favorite theme' of Schumann's
"The guest speaker was former Scientologist Norbert Potthoff from Krefeld,
who started by undertaking the attempt to outline the world image of the
Scientology organization. Potthoff then described his path through the
grist mills of the psycho-business. He said it began with the problem of
inadequate self-awareness and the resulting diminished capacity to operate
while he was working for an ad agency owner about 1981. An acquaintance,
who apparently had 'made it,' told him for the first time about the
'applied philosophy with which one could solve the problems of life and
thought.' Encouraged by the success of introductory courses, driven on
mainly by the stress-oriented exercises, equivalent to 'programming,'
Potthoff said he was led deeper and deeper into the training and
dependency thickets of Scientology. One reason for that was the increased
overestimation of self which accompanies exercises prescribed by Hubbard's
technology. Customers withdrew from Potthoff when he had wanted to exert
Scientology's influence upon their businesses, too. He finally got fed up
with dealing with all the 'poor crazies,' as the Scientologists regard
non-Scientologists, and he quit the ad agency and joined the cult
business. In 1984 he signed a contract to serve 'for a billion years.' But
it turned out to be only four years: after two ruined marriages, a growing
mountain of debt and finally the overwhelming realization that he had
landed in a system that only pretended to help people, he departed."
Freie Presse reported on October 22nd that the city of Zwickau is taking
Scientologist Kurt Fliegerbauer to court for failure to pay taxes and
failure to obtain construction permits.
"Kurt Fliegerbauer has applied with Zwickau city offices for an extension
for the payment of commercial tax debts in the about of about 2.5 million
marks. 'I pay my taxes,' he said on Monday in reply to the 'Freie Presse.'
Besides that, he said, applying for an extension was a 'completely normal
"A closed session the committee, led by Executive Mayor Dietmar Vettermann
(CDU), gave Fliegerbauer's application the heave-ho several days ago and
requested that the city exact payment as soon as possible - by foreclose
if necessary. According to Vettermann, it is not unusual in Zwickau for a
business to apply for an extension on tax payment; as a general rule they
will be approved.
"The city administration will even be dragging the Scientologist to court
in a different matter. Fliegerbauer began the renovation of several
buildings without having a construction permit, then failed to pay the
hundreds of thousand of marks in fines, said the executive mayor. The
hearing, scheduled to last several days at the municipal court, begins
next month. 'We will win the legal proceedings against the city,' the
company chief optimistically stated, but without saying anything more
"Kurt Fliegerbauer, according to the findings of the Saxon Constitutional
Protection agency a 'high-ranking' Scientologist, has been active in
Zwickau real estate since 1992. Last year he publicly announced that he
was leaving the city. But nothing ever came of that."
Badische Zeitung reported that a discussion on Scientology will be held in
"A two-sided discussion on the topic of 'Scientology: Church or Business
Undertaking?' will be held with Juerg Stettler, Public Relations Officer
of Scientology in Switzerland, and evangelical Minister Hans-Juergen
Schmidt, director of the evangelical discussion and encounter group. The
discussion, moderated by Christoph Peter Baumann, religious academic and
director of the Inforel information and counseling center in Basel, will
take place on Tuesday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lasser Restaurant."
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin published an article on October 27th on an open
house at the Honolulu org.
"A scriptural reading carried a timely message, warning that when religion
declines in society, the state assumes the role as arbiter of public
morality, and do we really want that? A little ritual of rapid-fire
questions had us focusing on our self-centered tensions as leader Amy
Suzuki directed us consciously relax 'parts of body that you don't have to
"It was a service staged to host the Open Table Pilgrimage, an ecumenical
group that sponsors an educational stop at a different church each month.
Suzuki explained later that the real thing for members, who number about
125 locally, is not centered on group worship but one-on-one counseling
sessions. There the spiritual self, with the guidance of a professional,
works to balance relationships within the eight levels of reality to reach
a sought-after state of clarity unimpeded by all negative spiritual and
"Suzuki, who as senior case supervisor is responsible to ensure that
teaching exercises don't deviate from the dogma laid out by Hubbard, gave
me a sample of the one-on-one processing later in a brief session on the
E-Meter, an electro-psychometer that is considered a religious artifact.
"Nothing demonstrates how richly endowed is the international organization
better than the numerous volumes it publishes to explain its unique
religion-as-technology. One reference was specifically created with
'answers to questions most commonly asked by media,' which alone says a
lot about its corporate view of itself. 'What do you believe about God?'
was a question at the service. Said Suzuki: 'We leave that to the
individual.' Thompson said 'It is a religion because we believe man is a
spiritual being, in fact, man is immortal.'"
A report from the International Association of Scientologists meeting in
October was posted to a.r.s this week.
"David was wearing the standard tux, nicely tailored and a bow tie. The
'message' or 'gimmick' as they call it in Scn was to join staff and/or
become very active in the VM program He told us that part of the problem
is that the world has become too consumed with MEST and specifically
mentioned computers, rather than operating spiritually. I got the distinct
impression he was saying that MEST, especially computers, nice houses etc.
are BAD, and that you don't need to spend your money on STUFF, instead you
should be giving your hard earned money to the C of S.
"He then said that there is no way people do what these terrorists did on
September 11 without there being both psych and drug involvement. Davy
said that in the present day, it's the same situation with the terrorists
only worse. They not only are given drugs but they have an evil PSYCH as
the right hand man of Osama Bin Laden.
"Next up was head of OSA, Mr. Mike Rinder without any post title. Rinder
started going on and on and on and on about the evil psychs He also talked
about how the C of S brought and won 5 law suits against the Russian
government for falsifying criminal charges against the C of S and the
Russian prosecutor had to pay the court fees. He then said that the study
tech courses are now offered in all Russian Universities.
"Rinder then introduced the first Freedom Medal Winner. It was the ED
Narconon Italy, Felicie Cantu. The did a presentation of the opening of
the Jenna Elfman mission in San Francisco. They had interviews with each
of the Celebs there including Tom Cruise, Juliette Lewis, JT, Jenna,
Kristi Alley and a few others. This was a 'special:' message from each
Celeb. The message from each kept with the 'theme' of the event which was
to become active either by joining staff, opening a mission or doing VM
work and of course, getting yourself up the bridge. Jenna was particularly
"Karen Hollander was there to do the ABLE spew and showed a video of the
grand opening of Narconon Arrowhead with interviews of government
officials. Each government official spoke glowingly of Narconon being the
solution to the worlds drug problem. Karen also told of an IAS grant to
the Country of Gambia to get Study tech into the schools there. It appears
Gambia has a 70 percent illiteracy rate and is too poor to purchase the
study tech books and pay ASI to deliver. So the IAS made a grant and now
every teacher (all 5,500 of them) is trained and uses study tech in
"Karen then introduced the next Freedom metal winner and that was Dr.
Oliver Hseung from Taiwan, who quit being an MD to open up 6 or 7 Missions
in Taiwan. The 3 Freedom Medal are John Carmichael, GO/OSA PR NY, Bunny
Dubin and Sharyn Runyon. The VM video shows VM's in action in NYC and the
video also had about 10 interviews with fireman, policeman and officials
from Rescue organizations all extolling the wonderfulness of the C of S."
> Leo J. Ryan Education Foundation
Bob Minton was awarded the Leo J. Ryan award at the Leo J. Ryan Education
Foundation conference on October 27th. Some excerpts from the address by
Bob Minton and introduction by Priscilla Coates:
"Priscilla Coates: The first Leo J. Ryan award was given in 1981. Leo J.
Ryan was a congressman from the Bay area of California, who became
concerned about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. He investigated. He
became more concerned. He became so concerned about his constituents and
their families that he went to Jonestown, Guyana. He thought, I believe,
that he was protected by the press. The press, I believe, thought they
were protected by a U.S. congressman. Instead, both press and Congressman
Leo J. Ryan were assassinated in Jonestown, Guyana, November 18, 1978.
"The individual who receives the Leo J. Ryan award is one who has
demonstrated the courage and commitment that Congressman Ryan showed in
the extreme; that individual who feels a duty as a human being to preserve
and protect our most basic human rights. This year we are proud, and
Congressman Ryan would be proud to present the award to Mr. Robert Minton.
"Robert Minton: Thank you so much.
"I am particularly honored to receive the Leo J. Ryan award from the hands
of Priscilla Coates. It is, after all, through Priscilla's hands that the
legacy of this award flows - from the Citizens Freedom Foundation to the
Cult Awareness Network - and now the Leo J. Ryan Educational Foundation.
"Since the events of September 11th, we have seen that our freedoms are
under much greater attack than our complacency allowed us to believe.
These terrorist acts have brought us face to face with the fundamental
reality that the heritage of all our freedoms is derived from God.
Complacency with our freedoms, however, is not new to us as a nation nor
is the courage to right the wrongs done to our fellow men a new concept.
"Today, our nation has taken up the cross yet again to defend freedom,
this time against the global threat of terrorism. The embodiment of global
terrorism has been focused on the Al Qaeda network since the crumbling
towers of the World Trade Centers flashed before our eyes on the morning
of September 11th.
"Yet in our midst, there are other terrorists inextricably linked to Al
Qaeda, because they too destroy towers filled with people. The only
difference is that the terrorist organizations I am referring to destroy
towers one human being at a time and in far greater numbers than Al Qaeda.
Osama Bin-Laden does not lead these organizations; they are led or
organized by like-minded terrorists with names like L. Ron Hubbard, David
Miscavige, Sun Myung Moon, Kip McKean, or David Berg.
"We are all in danger as a result of the successes these terrorist cults
have had in cloaking themselves in the mantle of religious freedom as a
means of distracting government attention from their criminal behavior,
their human and civil rights abuses, their manipulation of the legal
process and their outright disregard for humanity. Yet, these enemies of
freedom are the ones who today howl the loudest for freedom and tolerance.
Such calls for freedom and tolerance by Scientology and other cults are
mere masks for their brands of slavery and terrorism."
> Lisa McPherson Trust
The St. Petersburg Times reported on November 3rd that the Lisa McPherson
Trust is leaving their offices in Clearwater.
"The Lisa McPherson Trust, founded by New England millionaire Robert
Minton and named after a Scientologist who died in the church's care,
probably will close its headquarters, but it is not clear when, Minton
said. 'For everyone's peace of mind and to be able to continue to do what
we're trying to do, it's better we're not there,' he said Friday from his
New Hampshire home. 'It's disappointing, for sure. I don't feel beaten. I
should, but I don't. I think we will be able to still continue what we're
doing and be able to do it somewhere more peaceably.'
"Church spokesman Ben Shaw said the church is happy to see the critics go.
'Clearwater is better off without them,' Shaw said. 'They came here to
stir up trouble and all they managed to do is stir up trouble for
"The Lisa McPherson Trust has found itself embroiled in criminal and civil
litigation with the church ever since the group arrived. The trust can't
close its offices yet because a judge has granted a church request for an
independent review of trust records as part of a civil wrongful-death
lawsuit that McPherson's estate filed against the church. Even though
Minton is not a party in the suit, both he and the trust have been drawn
into the case, in part because Minton helped fund the lawsuit. Minton and
trust staff have been deposed by church lawyers for hours. Minton and the
trust have faced other legal blows. The courts ordered him to turn over
all of his personal Florida bank records, now in the hands of Scientology.
And recently, the church named Minton and the Lisa McPherson Trust as
co-defendants with the estate of Lisa McPherson in a lawsuit Scientology
has filed against the estate.
"Ken Dandar, the lawyer handling the wrongful-death suit against the
church, says Scientology has outmaneuvered the trust, and that has muddied
his case. 'I'm glad they're leaving,' Dandar said. 'Scientology will not
be able to use them. They will no longer be the pawns of Scientology.'
"While the Lisa McPherson Trust will not be in Clearwater, its work, which
has largely involved documenting the stories of former Scientologists,
will go on, Minton said. 'It's going to be a more amorphous type of
entity,' Minton said. It will be headed by trust president Stacy Brooks.
"'Their absence does reduce what has been a constant state of tension in
our downtown area,' City Manager Bill Horne said. 'That has to be seen as
a positive thing in terms of the kind of tranquility we'd like to see in
"However, former Scientologists say the trust did much to help people who
were seeking answers and refuge after leaving the church. Several trust
staff members were former Scientologists. 'We felt we were alone,' said
Lawrence Woodcraft, who left the church in 1995, followed by his
daughters. 'A lot of people feel when they come out of Scientology,
they're freaks. When you speak to other people you begin to realize, it's
not me, it's them. It's very comforting to know that.'"
> Drug Free Marshals
The Battle Creek Enquirer reported on October 26th that Scientology is
recruiting children to be Drug Free Marshals in Battle Creek, Michigan.
"To educate children to say no to these substances, the Church of
Scientology is recruiting Drug-Free Marshals. Earlier this month Battle
Creek Fire Chief Larry Hausman, Mayor Mark Behnke and the Rev. Bobby
Holley were sworn in as Drug-Free Marshals. Recently the first group of
students were also sworn in. Students are sworn in after they are educated
about drug and alcohol prevention and pledge to be responsible for keeping
not only themselves but their friends, family and others in society
"Campaign organizers and volunteers continue to work with youth after they
are sworn in, organizing contests and helping kids plan and carry out
events such as visits to business owners, police and fire stations, city
officials and state and federal legislators. 'We really stress making
this program theirs,' said McFall. 'It works better when you treat them
with respect and let them take charge. With the children's efforts and the
community's support, we will win this war on drugs.'"
> World Trade Centers
An email delivered to Scientologists described their efforts in the
disaster area of the World Trade Centers in New York.
"From: 'asho' <asho@...
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 15:56:15 -0700
"Most of the action has moved away from ground zero and into the greater
New York area. For over a week now, Ground Zero has been open only to
FBI, CIA and Military personnel. Today the Church of Scientology received
a call from the Military in-charge. He asked for use to send some assist
auditors down to Ground Zero to train his men. Apparently his men are not
doing too well since the Scientology VMs pulled out from Ground Zero. The
horrendous situation that they are working with has, by now, keyed in even
the best of his men. They now are fully aware that it was the Scientology
Volunteer Ministers, using LRH Assist Tech, which had been constantly
pulling them back out of it.
"There were also two ladies from the New York City Morgue came into a
Church of Scientology to get hatted up on assist tech so that they could
aide their co-workers who were getting severely keyed in handling the
atrocities that they were facing on a daily basis."
Ananova reported on October 22nd that a concert was held at Saint Hill to
aid the victims of the World Trade Centers and other charities.
"A UK concert in honour of New York firefighters killed in the US
terrorist attacks has raised 28,000 pounds. Lt. McCole from the New York
Fire Brigade was flown to East Grinstead to be formally presented with a
cheque on the night. The charity event was hosted by Isaac Hayes while
actress Jenna Elfman helped present the cheques.
"Lt McCole gave an account of his own experience following September 11
and thanked all those who had been helping. Those included the Red Cross,
the Salvation Army, and hundreds of Volunteer Ministers of the Church of
Scientology. Proceeds will go to the New York Fire Department Relief Fund
plus two local charities."
> Protest Summary
Catarina Pamnell reported distributing flyers at the Copenhagen Sea Org
"Birgitta, Ake Wiman and myself decided to make a quick stop by the AOSH
EU at Jernbanegade. Ake went inside to get some copies of recent Freedom
Magazine issues. Then Ake started to hand out fliers. Bid and myself kept
an eye on things. We saw some familiar faces, one of our old security
guard friends and a woman I also recognized, Erik, and after a while
'Gilbert' came up to me and Bid.
"Just as we went to pick up Ake to go to dinner, OSA PR EU Gaetane Asselin
turned up - we had not seen her in quite a while so Ake gave her a
friendly hug. As Erik didn't want to agree to Ake's suggestion that we all
go to the org for coffee, we said goodbye and got on our way."
"Kaeli" reported a protest in Toronto on November 2rd.
"We arrived at the meeting area early, and met with Keith, Gregg, and the
unknown picketer. We picked up our signs and supplies. Gregg went to the
Org first, and Keith took up his accustomed 110 ft away picketing
position, along with the unknown picketer. yduzitmatter, Zeratul and I
joined Gregg at the Org.
"I noticed that several of the staff, namely Al Buttnor, were on the
phones. It was fairly quiet. yduzitmatter and Tasha joined us at the Org.
The three of us, yduzitmatter, Tasha and I, walked together. Al Buttnor
showed up at the front door, so the three of us decided to head back to
"Suddenly we saw two police cars pull up, and two officers were getting
out of the car and speaking to both Al Buttnor and Gregg. Two bicycle cops
also showed up as well. From where Tasha and I stood, we could see six
cops and three picketers. According to Zeratul, the cops were complaining
about Gregg's loud voice, and wanted the three at the Org to move across
the street and picket there. I looked back towards the Org and noticed
that the cops had all left. Zeratul called me to say that everything was
fine now, and that Gregg, yduzitmatter and himself were continuing their
picket. We distributed an approximate amount of 350 flyers. Gregg
estimated that he had gone through many flyers while the cops were there."
> San Francisco
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on November 2nd that Scientology is
abandoning the org in downtown.
"Only weeks after opening an Ikea-furnished, dot-commy new branch in San
Francisco's South of Market area just as the neighborhood once again goes
to seed, the Church of Scientology has quietly placed its downtown
headquarters up for sale amid a devastating slump in property prices.
"The new SoMa branch, or 'mission' in church parlance, came about as a
result of actress (and Scientologist) Jenna Elfman taking an interest in
emulating actress-Scientologist pal Kirstie Alley, who led the way in
opening a mission in her hometown of Wichita, Kan.
Scientologists-in-the-know tell me that Elfman specifically wanted to
create a space that would reflect the young and fresh energy of the area,
which she apparently thought remained a mecca for young and fresh dot-com
"She couldn't have been more wrong. Yet even as the dot-coms imploded,
Elfman pushed ahead with efforts to lease the 7,300-square-foot Mission
Street property and appoint it with snazzy furniture and a tech-industrial
sensibility. A children's center and activity room were built downstairs,
complete with a ballet bar along full-length mirrors.
"No one ever visits, at least not that I can see. The neighborhood, as
those who actually live here know, is not the sort of place that people
naturally associate with spiritual growth.
"The Tenderloin headquarters building is thus up for sale, and the church
is shopping around for more spacious, affluent digs in the Financial
District. Insiders say they hope to vacate the premises by the beginning
of next year. 'We bought that building back in 1978,' Quiros said. 'We
always believed that we could make it in any neighborhood.' It took the
church headquarters more than two decades to learn this isn't true. Anyone
want to bet that the SoMa mission lasts nowhere near as long?"
> U.S. State Department
The U.S. State Department released its annual report on religious freedom
this week. An excerpt from the report on Denmark:
"Scientologists continue to seek official approval as a religious
organization. Their first application for approval was made in the early
1980's and rejected; the second application was made in mid-1997 and
withdrawn in early 1998. The second application was resubmitted in 1999
and withdrawn again in early 2000, shortly before a decision by the
Government was expected. In withdrawing the application, the Church of
Scientology asked the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs for additional
time to respond to reports about Scientology that had appeared in the
media. In January 2001, Scientology officials reported that their lawyers
were preparing to resubmit their application in the summer of 2001.
"Scientology officials complain of unfair treatment by the press,
particularly in its extensive coverage of the church in the months
preceding the anticipated government decision of the Scientologists'
application for recognition as a religious organization."
"The Church of Scientology has approximately 200 active members, primarily
in the Lisbon area. Government policy and practice contributed to the
generally unrestricted practice of religion. However, the Church of
Scientology, although recognized as a religious association since 1986,
does not benefit from the Religious Freedom Act, as it has not been
established in the country for 30 years or recognized internationally for
60 years, as required under the law. They are concerned that exclusion
from the benefits accorded under the Act will have a negative impact on
their ability to practice their faith."
"Religions not officially recognized, such as the Church of Scientology,
are treated as cultural associations. Representatives of the Church of
Scientology assert that the open indictment against Scientology
International President Heber Jentzsch is religiously based, a claim
denied by Spanish officials. The charges against Jentzsch relate to a
fraud case arising from private complaints against Scientology offices
Dianetica and Narconon. Police arrested Jentzsch and 71 others at a 1988
Madrid convention held by the International Association of Scientologists.
Jentzsch was subsequently released on bail and returned to the United
States. The current indictment, issued in 1994, charges Jentzsch and 20
Spanish citizens with 16 counts including illicit association, tax
evasion, and crimes against the public health. The trial of the defendants
other than Jentzsch began in Madrid in March 2001."
"The Government does not recognize Scientology as a religion and views it
as an economic enterprise. Concerns that Scientology's ideology is opposed
to a democratic state have led to the screening of firms and individuals
in some sectors of business and employment. The federal and state Offices
for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC), 'watchdog' agencies tasked
with monitoring groups whose ideologies are deemed to be counter to the
democratic order, have been 'investigating' the Church of Scientology and
Scientologists for approximately 4 years. During that time there have been
no prosecutions or convictions of Scientology officials in the country,
and the investigation has uncovered no concrete evidence that the Church
is a 'security' threat.
"Several states have published pamphlets detailing the ideology and
practices of nonmainstream religions. Scientology is the focus of many
such pamphlets, some of which warn of alleged dangers posed by Scientology
to the political order and freemarket economic system, and to the mental
and financial well being of individuals. For example, the Hamburg Office
for the Protection of the Constitution published 'The Intelligence Service
of the Scientology Organization,' which outlines its claim that
Scientology tried to infiltrate governments, offices, and companies, and
that the church spies on its opponents, defames them, and 'destroys' them.
"In April 2001, the Federal OPC concluded in a 265 page annual report for
the year 2000 that its reasons for initiating observation of Scientology
stated in 1997 were still valid. The 5 pages covering Scientology
described the organization's political ideology that is deemed to be
antidemocratic, quoting from the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron
Hubbard and Scientology pamphlets.
"Until March 2001, the Government required firms to sign a declaration in
bidding on government contracts stating that neither the firm's management
nor employees were Scientologists. Firms that failed to submit a sect
filter declaration were presumed 'unreliable' and excluded from
consideration. In response to concerns expressed by foreign governments
and multinational firms unable to determine the religious affiliation of
all their employees, the Economics Ministry limited the scope of the sect
filter to consulting and training contracts in 2000. In March 2001, the
Economics Ministry was able to persuade the federal and state interior
ministries to accept new wording that would only prohibit use of the
'technology of L. Ron Hubbard' in executing government contracts. Firms
owned or managed by or employing Scientologists could bid on these
"A higher social court in Rheinland-Pfalz ruled in January 1999 that a
Scientologist was allowed to run her au pair agency, for which the state
labor ministry had refused to renew her license in 1994, solely based on
her Scientology membership. The judge ruled that the question of a
person's reliability hinges on the person herself and not on her
membership in the Church of Scientology. The ruling is under appeal by the
State Labor Office. The case is still in the appeals process."
"In October 2000 the Ministry denied the Scientologists of Greece their
application for recognition and a house of prayer permit on the grounds
that Scientology 'is not a religion.' Although the deadline mandated by
law for processing the applications is 3 months, it took the Ministry
until October 2000 to decide that it would not recognize the Scientologist
community as an 'official' religion. The Church of Scientology appealed
the decision with the Council of State in December 2000 and the case will
be heard in December 2001. According to the president of the Greek
Scientologists, the group chose previously to register as a philosophical
organization because legal counsel advised that the Government would not
recognize Scientology as a religion."
"The APEH [Hungarian Taxation Authority] has also initiated investigations
of the Church of Scientology in 2000 based on questions regarding the
registration of clergy. The investigations took place at the Church's
office where APEH investigators requested files and conducted interviews.
The investigations have not affected the usual management of the Church
and have not required the expenditure of large amounts of Church funds.
The APEH has stated that it will complete the investigation by September
:The Ministry of Justice reported that as of January 31, 2001, more than
20,215 organizations had sought registration or reregistration, and 2095
of these faced the possibility of 'liquidation,' i.e. deprivation of
juridical status. These included large numbers of Muslim congregations, as
well as local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Salvation Army,
the Church of Scientology, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), most of which had
officially registered national organizations.
"This ruling does not enable independent churches with less than 15 years
in the country to register as religious organizations unless they were
registered before the passage of the law or affiliate themselves with
existing centralized organizations. The Institute for Religion and Law and
other NGO's note that this is a significant restriction for small
independent religious communities and foreign-based 'new religions,' such
as the Church of Scientology.
"Deputy Minister of Education Chepurnykh sent out a letter July 12, 2000,
to all institutions of higher education warning of the threat from certain
Western religious groups termed 'extremist and destructive' and accusing
the West of trying to undermine citizens by introducing 'Western values'
into education. Among the 'cults' mentioned in the letter are Jehovah's
Witnesses, the Unification Church, the Church of Scientology, and the
Mormons. The arguments in the letter echo statements made by Church
officials including Patriarch Aleksiy II, who was reported on a December
20, 2000, television program as saying that the Russian Orthodox Church
was concerned by the flood of various 'cults' into Russia and by
"Since 1999 the Moscow Scientology Church has come under intense pressure
from the authorities. The Procurator formally charged the Church with
criminal activities, including distributing medicine illegally. The case
was brought to court, but on December 7, 2000, the court returned the case
to law enforcement authorities for further investigation because of
irregularities in the Procurator's case. In January 2001, the case was
resumed but subsequently was dismissed for lack of evidence. The
Procurator appealed; however, on May 19 the appellate court upheld the
lower court's ruling clearing the Scientologists of all charges. The
Church of Scientology reportedly is now considering a legal challenge to
the Ministry of Justice's refusal to reregister it. The Church reports
that the authorities have impeded the operation of its centers in
Dmitrograd, Khabarovsk, Izhevsk, and other localities.
"Nizhniy Novgorod hosted a conference entitled 'Totalitarian Cults: Threat
of the XXI Century,' which featured a number of presentations from both
Russian and foreign 'anticult' activists. The conference materials
depicted such groups as Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the
Unification Church, and Scientology as 'cults,' despite the fact that all
have legal status."
"Due to increasing concern over certain groups, the Government in 1997
asked an advisory commission to examine the Church of Scientology. In
December 2000, the Federal Department of Police published a follow-up
report, which concluded that the activities of such groups, including
Scientology, had not significantly altered since the first report and that
their special monitoring was thus not justified.
"In Winterthur city, authorities require Scientologists to apply for an
annual permit to sell their books on public streets. The permit limits
their activities to certain areas and certain days. This practice has been
in effect since 1995 when a district court upheld fines issued to
Scientologists by the city for accosting passersby to invite them onto
their premises to sell them books and conduct personality tests. The court
ruled that the Scientologists' activities were primarily commercial,
rather than religious, which required them to get an annual permit for the
book sale on public property and prohibited them from distributing flyers
or other advertising material. The Supreme Court ruling in the Zurich case
is expected to set a precedent for this case as well."
"The law permits official institutions, such as government ministries and
Parliament, to provide copies of documents that are filed with them to the
public, although such documents may be unpublished and protected by
copyright law. This is due to a contradiction between the Constitution's
freedom of information provisions and the country's international
obligations to protect unpublished copyrighted works. This contradiction
has affected copyrighted, unpublished documents belonging to the Church of
Scientology that have been made available to the public by the Parliament
in accordance with domestic legislation. The Government is in the process
of drafting new legislation designed to eliminate the contradiction and
"The vast majority of groups termed 'sects' by the Government are small
organizations, having under 100 members. Among the larger groups are the
Church of Scientology, with between 5,000 and 10,000 members. According to
the Ministry, as of June 30, 2001, 11 organizations had applied for the
status of religious confessional community. Nine were granted the new
status. The Church of Scientology and the Hindu Mandir Association
withdrew their applications.
"The Church of Scientology has reported problems in opening bank accounts,
now resolved, and obtaining credit cards. Individual Scientologists have
experienced discrimination in hiring. In June 2000, a singer who
previously was affiliated with the Church of Scientology was harassed at
his performances. Police fined the demonstrators and offered police
protection to the singer. In October 1999, Austria Telekom transferred a
computer specialist from a sensitive position in an emergency-phone-line
coordination office to a comparable but nonsensitive position due to
concerns over his access to sensitive information."
"The Parliament in 1996 established a special commission to examine the
potential dangers that sects may represent to society, especially
children, and to recommend policies to deal with those dangers. Attached
to the report was a list of 189 sectarian organizations that were
mentioned during testimony before the commission (including groups such as
Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the
Church of Scientology, and even the Young Women's Christian Association).
Although the introduction to the list clearly stated that there was no
intent to characterize any of the groups as 'dangerous,' the list quickly
became known in the press and to the public as the 'dangerous sects' list.
The Parliament eventually adopted several of the report's recommendations
but it never adopted the list itself.
"On September 30, 1999, police raided offices and homes of members of the
Church of Scientology and seized computers and documents belonging to the
Church, including parishioners' confidential spiritual counseling folders.
A second, smaller raid on the Church of Scientology's Brussels
headquarters took place on February 8, 2001 at which time additional
documents were seized. Most of the seized computer equipment has been
returned to the Church but the documents are still held by the
investigating magistrate. The Church of Scientology has stated that the
Government's seizure of its computers, materials, and files impedes its
ability to practice freely. The Church of Scientology took legal action in
2001 to obtain its documents and has filed a complaint claiming that the
Prosecutor's Office provided prejudicial statements to the press in
violation of the country's secrecy laws regarding investigations. On March
6, 2001, the Church of Scientology filed a formal complaint against the
Government with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Religious
"A number of court cases have been initiated against the Church of
Scientology, generally involving former members who have sued the Church
for fraud and sometimes for the practice of medicine without a license.
According to Scientology representatives, there also have been cases under
the Data Privacy Act brought against the group by former members who have
continued to receive mailings from the parent church in the United States.
In April 2001, the Church of Scientology was taken to court for fraud and
false advertising in a lawsuit brought by three former members. Church of
Scientology representatives report that a case filed by a parent whose
child attended an 'Applied Scholastics'-based school remained ongoing.
Warrants in this case were executed in March 2001 and the police entered
Scientology offices and removed files. Scientology representatives also
report the cancellation of a music contract for a Scientology member
allegedly due to her religious affiliation. In October 2000, the Paris
Prefecture denied a request by the Church of Scientology for a
demonstration permit. The Church alleged discrimination; however, the
prefecture justified the denial based upon the proposed size and duration
of the demonstration, which would make it difficult to maintain public
order. The group rented a private park outside Paris, where they held
"A draft bill on 'Religious Freedom and the Position of Churches and
Religious Associations' was approved by the Chamber of Deputies upon first
reading on May 17, 2001. The law would create a new lower tier (nonprofit
religious association with limited tax benefits) that would require a
group to have at least 300 members. The draft law would require a
religious group to have adult adherents equal to at least 0.2 percent of
the population of the country in order to achieve full registration. This
is double the current requirement of 0.1 percent of the population. The
new law would also impose a 10-year observation period and an annual
reporting requirement on all first-tier religious organizations wishing to
obtain full registration status. Some unregistered religious groups
(including the Muslims and the Church of Scientology) and nongovernmental
observers criticized the proposed law and claimed that it is prejudicial
against minority religions."
Svenska Dagbladet reported on October 31st that Scientology has been
refused permission to open a school in Gothenburg, Sweden.
"The County Court came to the decision that The Swedish National Board of
Education were correct in stopping the establishment of a school with
connections to the Scientology movement. The study method is not holding
the educational standard.
"It was planned that the students should use a special pedagogy, Applied
Scholastics, which was compiled by the founder of Scientology L. Ron
Hubbard. But in December last year the National Board of Education said
no, referring to that this method - quite contrary to the demands in the
curriculum - is based upon 'individual, information-packed studies that
lacks wide perspectives and context'.
"The Scientologists appealed the decision to the County Court but the
court decided that the Scientologists failed to show that the education
was in accordance with the standards in the law."
> John Travolta
The Chicago Sun-Times published an article on October 25th on Scientology
celebrity John Travolta and his airplanes.
"John Travolta winged himself into town Wednesday 'safely behind the yoke
of my own plane' to boost his new film, Domestic Disturbance, but he also
shared his thoughts on air travel in our post-Sept. 11 world. 'Of course,
I fly privately, so I can control it,' Travolta told me, chatting in a
Ritz-Carlton Hotel suite. 'I have security guards and my own people
prepping the plane and all that. But if I were running an airline, I would
put an air marshal on every plane. I'd replace the flight engineer - which
no longer is needed in most modern aircraft - and therefore budget in the
air marshal. I would also budget in a hardcore door for every plane to
ensure separation of cockpit and cabin.'
"Asked whether the off-set event brought added tension to the movie set,
Travolta laughed. ''Not tension, but it brought worry,' he said. 'It was
like two kids out there who got in trouble. I got to play big brother and
I brought my Dianetics and Scientology into play and brought them back. It
was fun to help them.'"